Hemas Pharmaceutical (Pvt) Ltd, together with Expolanka Holdings PLC and Emirates SkyCargo have submitted collective Supply Chain Solution to the Government for the National Vaccination programme against COVID-19, relevant company officials told Ceylon FT.
The main objective of the Proposed Private-Public Partnership (PPP) solution is to ensure timely delivery of the vaccine to the end point while adhering to the highest compliance requirements of the cold chain process by providing the Ministry of Health required infrastructural and logistical support from end to end.
“To avoid the complexities arising when performing a mass scale intermittent dual dose vaccination programme, it requires, a highly efficient cold chain system to avoid loss of potency, modern custom-built infrastructure, data visibility, and agility,” they said.
According to their observations, even if the requirement is temporary, the highly perishable nature of the COVID-19 vaccine demands a very high investment requirement.
“Therefore, we have recommended that the Ministry of health and the Government work together with a passionate and capable private entities in order to successfully conduct this task of national significance,” officials said.
The promise of new generations of vaccines, through positive results from interim analysis to be the first to gain approval (Pfizer vaccine being approved by USFDA) has placed significant importance on the logistics of vaccine distribution.
It has placed never seen before cold chain requirements on existing distribution networks to facilitate early access to any WHO approved vaccine to expedite return to normalcy.
They said that the proposed collaboration intends to relieve the Ministry of the responsibility of maintaining the supply chain by outsourcing it to the specialists in each domain.
“This will ensure that the Health Ministry is given space to work on the containment of the disease spread at ground level, improve testing and treatment capacities facilitating the national goal of total elimination,” they said.
Currently, the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) is overseeing the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain for Government Sector Healthcare Institutions, with its own warehouses for pharmaceutical storage.
“We propose to the Ministry of Health, under the provision of this proposal to manage the overall distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines through our manufacturing partners, warehouses, and resources, whereas the end-to-end solution from the freight to goods distribution to hospitals will be managed by us, relieving the Government of any additional burden arising from cold chain infrastructure requirements,” they said.
According to their plans, vaccines (Pfizer,BioNTech) will be brought to Sri Lanka through air freight. Upon clearance, the vaccines will be transported to the warehouse premises in containers. Upon receipt, the vaccines will be stored in Ultra Cold Freezer (UCF) units and they will carry out the replenishment process to District Base Hospitals using 10.5ft freezer trucks based on the requirement.
Hemas Pharmaceutical (Pvt) Ltd is a Pharma distributor with access to leaders in vaccine development. Expolanka Holdings PLC is a (EFI) renowned third-party logistics service provider with four decades of experience and Emirates SkyCargo is a global leader in the air cargo industry with destinations covering six continents with customised cold chain capabilities to handle COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently said that a qualified vaccine could be made available for Sri Lanka by March and the local health authorities have initiate steps for improving cold chain requirements.